December 4, 2020
Lame Duck session is in full swing, and a lot of action has taken place this
week, including the first passage of pro-life legislation since the Heartbeat
Bill was enacted 19 months ago!
There is still more to come, as it appears that the Assembly may be convening
all the way up to the new year to get things done before the close of
the 133rd session.
NEWS AND VIEWS
1. The Ohio House moved “quickly” (if 20 months seems quick) to pass Senate Bill 27, the measure that would require the humane burial or cremation of the remains of infants killed by abortion. On Thursday morning, the House Civil Justice Committee reported the bill on a 7-3 party line vote after adding an amendment to harmonize the bill with changes the Heartbeat Law made to sections of the statutes also being modified by SB 27. The full House took it up that afternoon and after about 10 minutes of debate, voted on straight party line 60 yes (Republican)-35 no (Democrat) to pass the bill. It will now go back to the Senate for concurrence on the amended bill, which is expected to happen on Wednesday December 9th, as that is the next scheduled Senate session. Then, on to the Governor who is expected to sign the bill. The bill doesn’t move to end abortion, but it does require transparency and a paper trail which can be audited.
2. As expected, Governor Mike DeWine issued a veto of Senate Bill 311, the measure to bring more checks and balances to bear on the seemingly-unlimited authority of the Ohio Department of Health to force compliance of “emergency” health orders (which have been in place for over eight months). The House and Senate anticipate being able to override the veto (it takes 60 votes in the House, and 20 in the Senate). Sadly, the legislature also agreed through a conference committee on another measure (Senate Bill 1) regarding occupational licensure, but only after stripping out all of the language regarding requiring the Governor and Department of Health to seek approval of a joint legislative committee for issuing or re-issuing emergency health orders. That makes the override vote of SB 311 even more vital to be successful. You might want to call your Representative and Senator and politely ask them to vote to override the veto ASAP!
3. The House and Senate also passed along to Governor DeWine a measure (Senate Bill 40) which would ensure that college campuses don’t become laboratories of authoritarianism. The Campus Free Speech act was introduced in part because of the experiences of the Students for Life chapter at Miami University, who had to sue the school because of being unequally treated because of the content of their message. SB 40 would ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future, and also bans the practice of setting up “free speech zones” to limit Constitutionally-protected expression on college campuses. Pro-life students will now be on more equal footing to bring a message of life on their campuses in the future!
4. Just as reported previously about New York pushing for full abortion on demand, New Jersey legislators are now openly pushing for open access to abortions through Senate Bill 3030 the “Reproductive Freedom Act” which is supported by Democrat Governor Phil Murphy. However, it’s not going well for them: Pro-life groups rallied on Wednesday in a “Day of Outrage” against the measure. The opposition, led by Garden State Families executive director Rev. Greg Quinlan, is protesting in front of the offices of key legislators in their home districts. This is the way to make sure the message gets across! Kudos to Greg, who many of you may remember as he is an Ohio native who headed up the Pro-Family Network in the early 2000’s before moving to New Jersey to take up the fight for life and families there. Keep him and the coalition in prayer that they successfully keep this bill from becoming law!
5. The sentiment of the “silent majority” of those who believe in the sanctity of life seems to be that it’s time to not be silent. Along with what is happening in New Jersey, to our south another massive protest against legislation authorizing abortion is taking place: this time in Argentina. Over 150 organizations have banded together to push back against Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, who has submitted the proposal to the National Assembly. Fernandez is doing this as a campaign promise to the pro-aborts who backed his candidacy, and is trying to categorize a bill to make abortions legal in a heavily religious Argentina a bill about “comprehensive health care for women”. Sorry President Fernandez; abortion is neither health care nor something that many Argentine voters want, as similar proposals have been put forward and killed eight times previously.
Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key
policymakers and committees.
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio—Judge James G. Carr—Judge Carr, who serves the District Court from the Toledo region, was appointed to the Northern District bench in 1994 by then President William Clinton. He served on active status until 2010, as chief judge from 2004-2010, and then took senior status on the court.
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Carr obtained his Bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College in 1962, and graduated with his LL.B. from the Harvard Law School in 1966. He was in private practice and as an adjunct professor of law in Chicago from 1966-1970, when he then came to Ohio to teach at the University of Toledo College of Law. In 1979, he became a US Magistrate Judge in the Northern District, and served in that capacity until being tapped by Clinton to fill a vacancy on the main bench. Carr also served on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the FISA court) from 2002-2008.
Carr has been involved in some key rulings of the court, including two that dealt with terrorism. Judge Carr presided in the trial of a Ohio man who planned a terrorist plot to kill US troops. On October 21, 2009, Judge Carr sentenced Mohammad Amawi to twenty years in prison for his involvement in the plot. The case was subsequently appealed, and Carr's ruling was upheld.
Conversely, Judge Carr ruled against federal authorities on August 18, 2009 for attempting to freeze assets of an Ohio-based charitable organization. The judge ruled against authorities who attempted to freeze the assets of KindHearts Humanitarian Development over allegations that the group has ties to the terrorist organization Hamas. Carr found that federal authorities failed to obtain a warrant, which prevented federal authorities from freezing the organization’s assets.
NOTE: This week marks a year since my surgery for kidney cancer. I want to thank each of you for all of your prayers and support as my family and I have faced this challenge. Praising God for His grace, as so far the regular scans have returned back well. I am excited to continue to press on fighting for the right to life as long as God sees fit to use me before calling me home. Persevero!
Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is a proud member organization of the